Fall from Above: Hancock or Willis

Fall is the only season where people drive around to see colors. But we wondered what it woulds look like from above. We sent our intrepid reporter to the highest spots in Chicago – the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Building – to compare which had the better views. Which high top reigns supreme?

Height

Willis

1,450 feet, plus those antennas, which add another 280 feet. 8thtallest in the world, tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Take that,Empire State Building.

Hancock

1,127 feet, plus 444-foot antennas. There’s enough steel to make33,000 cars. #25 in the world, it still bests the ChryslerBuilding.


Visibility

Willis

On a clear day, you might not be able to see forever, but youcan see four states and as far as 50 miles.

Hancock

From the open-air sky walk, you get 360-degree views and a nicebreeze. Inside, interactive telescopes let you see far into thedistance, even in bad weather.


Kids Will Love

Willis

Print off the Skydeck Scavenger Hunt to put things intoperspective. Trivia buffs will enjoy the Tower Room with its crazyTower facts. Kids will also like the interactive displays at theExplore Chicago exhibit.

Hancock

Tykes can get a crash course in Chicago history with the 80-footwall mural. They’ll also love posing as a Hancock Building windowwasher for a photo op they won’t soon forget.


Claim to Fame

Willis

The Ledge. These seemingly death-defying clear glass boxes makeyou feel like you have the world at your feet-or at least WackerDrive. It’s fun to take photos of people in the other four cubes orto come up with creative poses on your own. Bring your camera.

Hancock

The World’s Highest Skating Rink brings whimsy to the skyscraperfrom January to April. The rink is made of a synthetic icesubstance, which means you can shed coats, mittens and scarves.Check the website in December to buy timed tickets in advance.


Price

Willis

General admission: $17, $11 child. Special passes and packagesavailable.

Hancock

General admission: $15, $10 child. Annual passes pay forthemselves in just 2½ visits.


Extras

Willis

Unleash your own inner shutter bug, but also consider a souvenirshot of your family on the Ledge, with a telescopic lens capturingjust the right angle ($22). What a great holiday card that wouldmake!

Hancock

If you’re looking for a place to recover from all the Mag Mileshopping, you can relax in the Lavazza Espression Café. The Caféeven has a kids’ menu featuring faves like grilled cheese.


Insider Tips

Willis

General Manager Randy Stancik recommends starting your day atthe Skydeck so you can get your bearings and a full view of thecity. For suburbanites, the Tower is within walking distance ofUnion Station and Ogilvie.

Hancock

Carey Randall, the director of sales and marketing, sayspost-Labor Day is the best time for locals to come to the Hancock.And if you can’t decide between the day and night view, sherecommends visiting at sunset.


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